Personal Finance

Personal Finance

Ten tips to get the ideal Christmas gift – a balanced budget

Last year, families spent around £820 on Christmas typically, previous research from and the Centre of Retail Research suggests. Many households will have put their Christmas on credit – but by planning ahead, it’s possible to build a pot of cash and make savings here and there that will stop you having to fork out more than you need to.

Personal Finance
The big six energy providers have all put up their prices this year

Martin Lewis: Be switched on – look for a cheaper tariff

Brace yourself.  ­Energy bills are about to be hit by a double whammy. The big firms are all putting their ­prices up (again) and many of the cheapest deals you can switch to have been pulled. Let me be plain – now is the time to switch before winter. Every week’s delay risks you paying more.

The Bank of England's decision not to increase the base rate this month was not surprising. More surprising is banks' reluctance to pass on increases to savers. Picture: Getty

Gareth Shaw: Don’t bank on being treated fairly

Just a few days ago, the Bank of England rejected the opportunity to increase the base rate for the second consecutive month. It was a unanimous decision – perhaps unsurprising, given that it had finally taken the plunge in August and lifted the base rate beyond 0.5 per cent for the first time since March 2009.

You should be aware of your rights if you want to make a claim (Picture Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images)

Don’t let airlines be fly – know your rights

Summer’s now over, and sadly there’s little you can do to repair a holiday ruined by flight delay or cancellation (for example, from a strike like Ryanair’s) but many are entitled to up to £550 per person compensation. In fact this applies even for delays as far back as 2012.

Pension savers do need stability to properly plan for the future, and get very nervous about possible changes to tax relief

Gareth Shaw: Pension panic may be a little premature

Every year, without fail, a story will rear its head about a government “raid” on your pension. Usually close to the Budget, or Autumn (now Spring) Statement, the cunning chancellor of the day is going to hack away at the incentives for saving into a pension, making them far less generous, in order to save billions for the public purse.

Marriage allowance enables some married couples and civil partners to transfer a low-earning partner's tax-free allowance to their higher-earning spouse. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Gareth Shaw: If you’re not claiming marriage allowance, why not?

When I got married a couple of years ago, the chap who owned the venue at which we celebrated was one of a kind. His name was “Lucky”, he never wore shoes and he had the kind of demeanour that suggested he should be on a surfboard on the south coast, not managing a converted mill in deepest South-East London.

Some tourists have been driven to despair by Airbnb fraudsters

James Walker: How to avoid holidays from hell

Holiday letting is the subject of some of the most alarming complaints I receive. One person told me how she found herself on vacation staying with a great-grandmother who wouldn’t leave the flat (and 12 cats) while another found that her host treated cleaning more as a vague concept than a necessity.

Personal Finance
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